My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it’s on your plate – that’s my philosophy.
~ Thorton Wilder
Listening to National Public Radio yesterday, I heard an announcer introduce a comedic piece by an NPR staffer/aspiring actress on her struggles to stay thin. I guess it was funny, although I had a hard time laughing because her story was painfully familiar – overarching concern over every calorie that entered her mouth and what she did to ‘make up’ for trespasses. I swear – I do have a sense of humor, but this was so close to everyday attitudes for millions of American women (and increasing numbers outside the U.S.), I wondered if other listeners would hear the humor the author intended. I think – not sure – that she was making fun of the situation while admittedly buying into it because she was trying to make it in Hollywood.
But what struck me even more was the short story the announcer used to intro the piece. She related how she promised herself every July 4 that she would only have a hot dog (sans bun) and salad, but ended up giving into the temptations of the celebration. A little potato salad would sneak on her plate; she’d find herself nibbling on a double fudge chocolate cake that Aunt Susie made. The trouble is, I don’t think she saw any humor in this story beyond the fact that she didn’t have the ‘willpower’ to stay away from the goodies. Whatever humor there is in that.
The diet mentality has become so much a part of our landscape, many of us don’t even recognize it. What’s worse, it’s fueling a nation of disordered eaters – primarily women – who are wasting their lives worrying about food and weight. Take it farther, and it becomes an eating disorder with results that clearly show the waste of life. Terri Schiavo’s case, for instance. News reports weren’t always clear that a potassium deficiency caused by bulimia was reportedly behind the cardiac arrest that damaged her brain.
Per Thornton Wilder’s quote above, enjoyment may just well be the critical factor in helping us eat well. To be clear, it’s enjoyment without guilt (can there be true enjoyment if there’s guilt involved?). This piece on holiday eating can help you delight in the summer’s bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as hamburgers, hot dogs and chocolate cake and feel great, too.
Happy rest of the summer!